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2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited
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191 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,


I recently bought a hail damaged 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited with 117,000 miles. The maintenance records show impressively regular maintenance and I’m hoping this car will last me a long time. Also it was a Texas car which I’m happy to report given I’m in MN – no significant rust yet.


I do have an initial concern I didn't completely pick up on until after purchasing.


I have some sort of clunk feeling (not really a noise yet) in the front end at lower speeds - seems to be both straight and in turns on moderate to large bumps, cracks, etc. I’ve jacked the car up, wiggled both front tires at 3/9 and 6/12 with the suspension completely unloaded – everything felt solid. I also wiggled the sway bar and end links, inner and outer tie rods, pried on the balljoints, and used a rubber mallet on the various components both completely unloaded and various points of loading the suspension by jacking under the control arms. I did not feel or hear any noticeable play other than pounding on the right tie rod produced a small rattle whereas the left did not.

Although I expected an inner tie-rod, I'm unsure if this small rattle is enough to pinpoint that as the issue – I was hoping to find something more obvious. Anyone have some additional tips or trick for tracking down this clunk? Did I miss something? I know this is one of the hardest type of questions to nail down online. I also don’t want to just start throwing parts at it.

Also the bushings at the rear of the control arm seemed pretty dry with significant surface cracking.

I have wrenched on my 2008 Pontiac Grand Prix for maybe 7 years (including the entire front end) so I should be able to tackle most things myself. Thanks in advance for any help!
 

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Registered
2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited
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191 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Last night I raised the front of the car, rechecked the 3/9 and 6/12 positions for play, pried up under the tire to see if I could get any clunking out of the ball joint, removed the front sway bar end links. I was not able to feel any notable play and the clunk was still there despite the end links being off during a test drive.

I did notice that the end links had either been freshly greased (somehow without grease zerks?), they have been leaking or maybe they are new? The odd part was the grease has been creeping on to the knuckle probably for quite some time - so I'm thinking they are either leaking or someone has been trying to quite something down? New parts shouldn't be leaking grease.

I also tried wiggling the steering rack but didn't feel anything.

I'm wondering if the strut mounts could be the issue. At 118k miles I'm sure there is some wear.

Anyone have other thoughts?
 
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